I found your article on the new Reid Park Zoo exhibit very interesting because it touched on a well kept secret of the zoo world; exhibits do not give a return on their investment - they do however add significantly to long term maintenance cost which is almost never figured into any realistic formula for the future.
Zoos build exhibits because they drive attendance although this is never included in any promotional material for obvious reasons. Instead we get the claims of serving wildlife conservation. Taking into consideration that zoo attendance nation wide is flat to declining and add to that the fact that attendance spikes are short lived after a new exhibit opens and you see what the administrators are up against.
Any zoo with a viable future must rethink its mission and priorities. I am enclosing a link to an article about the Toronto Zoo elephant program because it shows "elephant people" themselves are aware of the problems and are willing to discuss them and offer alternatives involving in-situ elephant conservation
Thanks for making us think, sincerely,
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